July Has Some Interesting Arts Programming Going on at the Toronto Reference Library

June 29, 2018 | Bill V.

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It's almost July, school is out, heat alerts are happening, summer vacations are approaching and there are too many darn noisy outdoor bar and cafe patios around. Why not come indoors into the Library where it's cool and enjoy some interesting arts programming? We've got the architectural history of the Annex and Old City Hall to Canadian auction house Heffel, or an Open Mic opportunity!


Open Mic

Open Mic at the Toronto Reference Library

Are you a singer, musician, poet, comic, or storyteller?

If so, then you are invited to share your talents at the Toronto Reference Library open mic!

Acoustic guitar and digital piano are provided. Please be mindful of the volume.

Teens and Adults. No registration required. Sign-up at 5:30pm.

Tuesday July 3 from 6-8 pm in the Beeton Auditorium, Toronto Reference Library.  If you miss this one there's another on Tuesday August 21.


Exploring Toronto's Architecture: The Annex with Marta O'Brian: 

Architectural historian Marta O'Brien will explore The Annex's story through its streets and buildings. The Annex began as a subdivision outside of Toronto's boundaries. The neighbourhood has fought to preserve its character and now its varied architecture accommodates families, single professionals, and students from the nearby University of Toronto. This is a free talk and all are welcome.  Marta is also doing another talk for us on the Old City Hall and she's speaking at Barbara Frum Library about Toronto's Art Deco and Art Moderne architecture.

Tuesday July 10, 2018  from 6-7:30 pm  in Beeton Auditorium, Toronto Reference Library.


Marta O'Brien

If you're interested in the Annex area of Toronto then you may enjoy these titles:

The Annex the story of a Toronto neighbourhood

The Annex: The Story of a Toronto Neighbourhood: "is the illustrated story of how a nineteenth-century subdivision owned by a single land developer became the upscale, multi-ethnic, trendsetting hub for much of downtown life in Toronto. This story involved the city's wealthiest citizens and farsighted architects who gave the Annex its look, as well as the neighborhood activists who resisted changes that inevitably come with modern urban planning. This book features 128 black and white photographs."

You may also want to check out the Toronto Public Library Poetry Map and see the many poems inspired by the area as well as the Toronto in Literature Neighborhood Book Lists interactive map.

The books Toronto: A Literary Guide and Toronto Architecture also have sections on the Annex.

One of the best source for architectural history, and not just because I wrote it, is this blog Eleven Great Books about Toronto's Architecture.

Toronto Public Library has a large online Digital Archive with many vintage photos and maps of the Annex area as well, see below for a couple of examples.

Map of Yorkville and its vicinity 1878

1878 Map of Yorkville and its vicinity, including Seaton Village.


   Madison Avenue vintage postcard circa 1910 looking south of Dupont

Circa 1910 vintage Real Photo Postcard (RPPC) of Madison Avenue looking south from Dupont.


Behind-the-Scenes at the Heffel Auction House with Judith Scolnik:

Judith Scolnik, Director of the Toronto Heffel Office, provides insight into the world of the prestigious Canadian fine art auction house. All are welcome to this free event.

Monday July 23, 2018 from 2-3:30 p.m. Hinton Learning Theater (3rd floor) Toronto Reference Library.


Behind the Scenes at Heffel Fine Art Auction House

Heffel Auction is especially strong with Canadian art and if you're interested in that subject then you may be interested in the Toronto Reference Library's Canadian Artist Files.


Exploring Old City Hall: A Private "Tour" with Marta O'Brien:

Our much-loved third City Hall has been restored over the past 20 years: its beautiful carved stone details are vivid once again, and much of the interior is as lavish as when the building opened in 1899. Architectural historian Marta O'Brien received rarely-granted permission to photograph the amazing interior spaces and features, and will share her best images.

Tuesday July 24, 2018 from 6-7:30 pm Beeton Hall  Toronto Reference Library

Old City Hall was built by the well known Toronto architect Edward James Lennox, who was also responsible for Casa Loma as well as many houses in the Annex:

Edward James Lennox builder of Toronto

Edward James Lennox: "Builder of Toronto": "From 1876 to 1915, Edward James Lennox was a formidable force in Toronto's architectural community. Many of his buildings are still landmarks in a city that continues to evolve. Born and educated in Toronto, Lennox looked to the past for inspiration but was never captured by it. His prototypical Annex houes on Madison Avenue, Old City Hall, and Casa Loma bear witness to his technical expertise and aesthetic sensibilities." 

City Hall 1901

George V visit to Toronto, 1901; arch, Bay St. at Richmond St. W., looking n. to Queen St. W


City Hall 1899

City Hall opening ceremonies 1899

Loving Vincent: An Animated Biopic of Van Gogh (2017)

Entirely hand-painted in the style of Vincent van Gogh, this animated feature film explores the mysterious and tragic death of the troubled artist. 2018 Oscar Nominee for Best Animated Feature Film. Directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman. 95 minutes. All are welcome to this free film.  If you can't make the film we also have copies to borrow from the Library (online access via Hoopla or the DVD).

Monday July 30, 2018 2-4:00 pm Hinton Learning Theatre (3rd floor) Toronto Reference Library

Loving Vincent DVD

The Library has copies of the earlier film Vincent and Theo and, of course, many biographies about Van Gogh.